The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), a leading organisation, which promotes child protection in cocoa-growing communities, has built a kindergarten block at GHC80,000, to facilitate access to pre-school education, in the Assin South District in the Central Region.
The project, which is part of the Akrofuom DA School, was undertaken in collaboration with the chief of the area, the District Assembly and the ICI’s Community Child Protection Committee in the area.
An official statement issued by the ICI, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the project was necessitated by the collapse of the previous kindergarten block following a rainstorm in mid 2018.
With the inauguration of the block on Wednesday, April 10, the 50 pupils, would now be moved from the temporary dilapidated structure, into the new block, which offers a conducive environment for teaching and learning.
Mr Mike Arthur, the National Coordinator of ICI, at the inaugural ceremony, thanked Hershey Company, one of the leading manufacturers of chocolate and cocoa products for their financial support, for the project.
Over the past three years, Mr Arthur said, the ICI had been rendering services, such as the formation of a community study group, aimed at educating the people on the need to enroll their wards in school rather than using them as farm hands, to eliminate child labour.
“Our responsibility is to educate the people to understand that children are not to be made to undertake any work that exceeds what their energy can cope with.
“During school hours, children below 18 years are not supposed to work either on the farm or any other workplace because this retards their holistic growth the child and undermine their eventual contribution to national development”.
Mr Derrick Ambrose Owusu, the DCE for Assin South, said his area was a disaster prone one, with rain storms perennially destroying key socio-economic infrastructure.
He, therefore, commended the ICI for its support and urged individuals and philanthropic organisations to complement the government’s efforts at providing systems and infrastructure that would aid citizens to live healthy and productive lives.
The child-centred community development projects in Akrofuom is part the three-year community development programme the ICI is undertaking in 29 communities in the Eastern, Central, Ashanti and Western North regions.
Since its inception in 2002, the ICI has worked with the cocoa industry, civil society and national governments in cocoa-producing countries to ensure a better future for children and contribute to the elimination of child labour.
Operating in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the ICI has worked in more than 1,000 cocoa-growing communities, where it has supported more than 3,000 community development actions to benefit more than one million people, more than half of whom are children, the statement said.
It is funded by major stakeholders in the cocoa industry.